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BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs force Game 7 in semifinal with 7-1 win over Surrey Eagles

Winner of Game 7 will face Chilliwack Chiefs in Coastal Conference championship

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are headed back to Surrey after soundly beating the Eagles 7-1 to force Game 7 of the B.C. Hockey League Coastal Conference semifinals on Sunday, April 23.

Weyerhaeuser Arena—the “Dawg Pound”—was sold out for the first time in more than a decade and fans were searching for tickets on social media right up until game time at 6 p.m. It was the first sellout since April 1, 2013—also against Surrey Eagles—according to the team.

“To see the rink as full as it was tonight on, quite frankly, a night where our players really needed this, was pretty special,” Bulldogs’ president David Michaud said after the game.

“The team’s won a lot of people over with the way they play and the effort on the ice. It was just so exciting that last minute to see the entire building rise up and give them a standing ovation. It was goosebumps kind of stuff.”

The Bulldogs faced elimination after losing 3-2 on Friday, April 21 on the road; the Eagles rode a 3-2 series lead into Port Alberni for Game 6 on Sunday.

Surrey’s Aaron Schwartz opened scoring at 5:03 of the first period, but it was to be the only marker for the visiting Eagles. The Bulldogs’ Dakota MacIntosh scored at 12:29 to tie the score: it was the first of four points for MacIntosh, who also collected assists on goals by Chase Klassen, Matt Kursonis and Nicholas Beneteau.

The Bulldogs scored four unanswered goals—Ethan Bono on a breakaway, Brandon Buhr, Kursonis with his first of two, and Klassen—in the second period to take a 5-1 lead going into the third. Kursonis scored his second at 10:04 of the third on a power play, and Beneteau wrapped up the 7-1 win with a marker at 15:41.

The Bulldogs out shot the Eagles 39-24.

Michaud said the team’s scoring depth is peaking at the right time. “I’ve done this for a long time and I was fortunate enough to win a BCHL championship during my time in Penticton. I can say with certainty that this time of year you don’t win unless you get scoring up and down your lineup. I think that’s what makes our group really dangerous, is top to bottom we can get production from guys. Tonight was a good indication of that and the playoffs have been a good indication of that,” he said.

Michaud is hoping the momentum from Game 6 will carry over to the South Surrey Arena on Tuesday for Game 7.

“Surrey’s going to come out hungry; it’s a different animal when you’re facing a team against elimination,” he said. “Now they’ll experience that like we did tonight. I like the way we’ve played in there, we just haven’t been rewarded yet. Hopefully we’re due to get a win.

“I can only imagine how exciting this place will be on Friday for Game 1 of the Coastal Conference championship.”

Game 7 takes place Tuesday, April 25 at South Surrey Arena, starting at 7:15 p.m. Listen to the game with Evan Hammond on 93.3 PEAK FM or catch it on Hockey TV.

The winner will face the Chilliwack Chiefs in the Coastal Conference final starting Friday, April 28.

ICE CHIPS…The Chiefs blanked Nanaimo Clippers 5-0 on Sunday to win their semifinal series 4-2 and their spot in the conference final.

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Susie Quinn

About the Author: Susie Quinn

A journalist since 1987, I proudly serve as the Alberni Valley News editor.
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